Why Ubuntu 9.10 – Almost Perfect

I can be a rather harsh critic.

It’s been quite some time since I’ve given a really glowing review of any Linux Distro on the Computer Action Show (previously the Linux Action Show).

In fact, I’m pretty confident most people on the Fedora team view me as the biggest-jerk-face-ever for my — let’s just say… “not overly glowing” — reviews of recent Fedora releases.  And I’ve given folks on the Ubuntu team a fairly hard time over the years as well.

Keep that in mind when I state the following:

Ubuntu 9.10 is as close to perfection as any version of Linux I have ever seen.

A little background:  Back in May I wrote an article titled “The Perfect Linux Distro” where I laid out what I would view as, well, the perfect Linux distro.

And, while Ubuntu 9.10 certainly doesn’t implement everything I’d dreamed of in that article, they hit some of the key points.  Let’s take a few minutes and go over the good and bad.

The Good Things in Ubuntu 9.10


The Ubuntu Software Center

The new Ubuntu Software Center is (or will be) a combination of Synaptic (the current Ubuntu package manager) and an Ubuntu-specific Software Store.

At present it is merely a standard interface for installing packages from the Ubuntu repositories… with a little nicer look and feel than Synaptic.

Canonical has set the goal of developers being able to sell their own commercial software from within the Software Center by the Ubuntu 10.10 release (next year).

This is huge.  Services that allow users to find and purchase software for their platform (such as Apple’s iPhone App Store) have become an almost necessity to support a thriving software ecosystem.  For me, as an independent software developer focusing on Linux, this is a really big freaking deal.

ubuntu910themeThemes / Icons

I know, most of you probably don’t care what the default theme is for your OS.  But, whether we want to admit it or not, the initial look and feel is critical.  This is the first impression people get for a new piece of software.

In the past, let’s be honest, Ubuntu was lacking in this area.  It was… orange.   And brown.

Orange and brown don’t exactly scream “advanced, super-attractive, cutting-edge software”.

Well, I have to say, Ubuntu really stepped up their game in 9.10.  The new default “Human” theme is a smidge darker and a lot classier than what we previously were seeing.  The older, brighter, more “orange-y” Human-Clearlooks theme is still available for those nostalgic for the old days.

On top of this, the default icon set is the new “Humanity” icon design.  Which look fantastic.  Polished.  Modern.  Nice, understated gradients.

Desktop Backgrounds

I feel almost a little silly including something as simple as “Desktop Backgrounds” here.  I mean, it’s just pictures, right?

Well, if you’ve been using past versions of Ubuntu, you’ll know that it has typically only shipped with a very small selection of background pictures.  We’re talking like 2 or 3.

Now, in 9.10, they have a respectable collection of nature and space backgrounds that look as nice and polished as any you’d find shipping with systems from Microsoft or Apple.

ubuntu-beta-install-12The Live-CD Installer

The installer for Ubuntu 9.10 has not changed significantly.  Functionally it is roughly the same as the one we have had in both Ubuntu 9.04 and 8.10.

What they have done, however, is polish things up.  The installer window now fits properly on smaller Netbook screens.  And they’ve added a series of pictures that show you what you can do, with various applications within Ubuntu, as the installer progresses.  Other software makers have been doing this for years (with varying degrees of class)… the Ubuntu team has done this very, very well.

This is a critical piece that has been missing — as many “non-nerd” users will not know to launch something called “F-Spot” to manage their photos.  Now the installer helps these users over that initial learning curve.

New Instant Messaging Client

Pidgin has been the defacto IM software for many Linux distros for years now.  However, it has stalled a great deal and was feeling a big long in the tooth.

It has been replaced by Empathy (which is something I recommended back in May and am incredibly happy to see this is the route they have gone down), which looks and works great.

Built-In Ubuntu One

Ubuntu One, a service that currently offers file storage and synchronization between different Ubuntu powered computers, has been in beta since earlier this year.  With Ubuntu 9.10 this service is now shipping by default.

What’s so great about this?  Two things:

  1. It’s a great piece of functionality that both Apple and Microsoft are providing in various forms for their customers.
  2. It provides a critical revenue stream for Canonical.  (Which is kind of an important bit… considering the system itself is 100% free of charge.)

This, to me, is a sign of maturity.  And I quite like the direction this (combined with the Ubuntu Software Center) is heading.

The Things Missing In Ubuntu 9.10

Notice I didn’t say “bad things”.  Because, in my opinion, the main problem with Ubuntu 9.10 is that it’s missing a few key pieces of functionality.

yofrankie10The Games Are Weak

There are so many great, free games that could be included in Ubuntu.

Yo Frankie, Hedgewars and Frozen Bubble all are great open source games that could give a good representation of some of the great quality of games that are available.

Sure, shipping with a simple solitaire and sudoku game is great.  But let’s step it up a notch!

Video Editing

I don’t fault Ubuntu for not having a built-in audio editing suite.  Sure, I might use it, but it’s not something that most people are going to need.

But video editing?  Windows and OS X both have their defacto tools to let people do at least basic video editing out of the box (or, at least, semi-out of the box).

Grab PiTiVi and either include it as a default application or make it a featured application to install.  The lack of video editing on Linux is often given as a reason why people don’t “switch from Windows”… so take away that reason.


Rhythmbox is an okay music player and manager.  That’s what Ubuntu ships with right now… and it does the job.

But it’s no Banshee.

Banshee is the bees-knees of music players.  Make haste and get that application in there by default.

As you can see, not exactly a big list of “problems”!

Overall I’d call this release polished, smooth, easy to install and with an improved feature set (new applications that are incredibly promising).

Is it perfect?  No.  But so, so close.

I’d take it so far as to say I see very little reason that Ubuntu 9.10 would not be an excellent choice for the vast majority of computer users.

… Other than PC games.  But that’s a different story…

How to Install Mplayer and Multimedia Codecs (libdvdcss2,w32codecs,w64codecs) in Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic)

MPlayer is a movie and animation player that supports a wide range of codecs and file formats, including MPEG 1/2/4,DivX 3/4/5, Windows Media 7/8/9, RealAudio/Video up to 9, Quicktime 5/6, and Vivo 1/2. It has many MX/SSE (2)/3Dnow(Ex) optimized native audio and video codecs, but allows using XAnim’s and RealPlayer’s binary codec plugins, and Win32 codec DLLs. It has basic VCD/DVD playback functionality, including DVD subtitles, but supports many text- based subtitle formats too. For video output, nearly every existing interface is supported. It’s also able to convert any supported files to raw/divx/mpeg4 AVI (pcm/mp3 audio), and even video grabbing from V4L devices.

Install Mplayer in Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic)

You nned to make sure you have enabled universe,multiverse repositories

Now you need to run the following command to update the source list

sudo apt-get update

Install mplayer using the following command

sudo apt-get install mplayer


Click on the following link


If you want to open mplayer go to Applications—>Sound&Video—> Mplayer Movie Player

Install w32 video codecs and libdvdcss2 in Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic)

Support for WMV, RealMedia and other formats has been bundled into the w32codecs package. This package is not available from the Ubuntu repositories due to licensing and legal restrictions.To play encrypted DVDs, the libdvdcss2 package is essential.

The following command adds Medibuntu’s repository to Ubuntu. It also adds Medibuntu’s GPG key to your keyring, which is needed to authenticate the Medibuntu packages.

sudo wget http://www.medibuntu.org/sources.list.d/$(lsb_release -cs).list  --output-document=/etc/apt/sources.list.d/medibuntu.list

sudo apt-get -q update

sudo apt-get --yes -q --allow-unauthenticated install medibuntu-keyring

sudo apt-get -q update

For i386 Users install Codecs using the following command

sudo apt-get install w32codecs libdvdcss2

For amd64 Users install Codecs using the following command

sudo apt-get install w64codecs libdvdcss2

Using above download locations you can install most of the mutimedia codecs for ubuntu.

Mplayer Plugin for Firefox

If you want to install Mplayer with plug-in for Mozilla Firefox run the following command

sudo apt-get install mozilla-mplayer

or click on the following link


Simple LAMP (Linux Apache MySql PHP) Installation for Ubuntu 9.10

LAMP Server ( LINUX APACHE MYSQL PHP) is essential for web developers.  You can use lot of methods to install LAMP Server. But I think the following is the most simplest method.

Open a terminal and  type the following

$ sudo tasksel install lamp-server

QGIS Compiling Under Ubuntu 9.10

Installing Dependencies the easy way

Firstly add the ubuntu-gis repository to you apt sources list:

sudo su -c “echo ‘deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/ubuntugis/ubuntugis-unstable/ubuntu karmic main’ >> /etc/apt/sources.list”
sudo su -c “echo ‘deb-src http://ppa.launchpad.net/ubuntugis/ubuntugis-unstable/ubuntu karmic main’ >> /etc/apt/sources.list”

Now update your package database:

sudo apt-get update

Now tell Ubuntu to install all build dependencies for QGIS:

sudo apt-get build-dep qgis

Now say ‘Y’ at the prompt and if you are in South Africa wait a few hours while the bits crawl across the wires and deplete your bank account. On my clean system it downloaded around 124mb of packages – pretty much everything you need to build QGIS including the compiler environment, the dependent libraries and their header files etc.
Building QGIS

Building QGIS is well documented in our INSTALL document that comes included but here is the quick version:

First install subversion and cmake console, cmake qt4 gui’s and a few other goodies:

sudo apt-get install subversion cmake-curses-gui \
cmake-qt-gui gdal-bin libgdal1-1.6.0-grass python-gdal

Now we can go on to build QGIS. I am telling CMAKE to install my hand built copy into my home directory (under a subdirectory called apps) to that it does not conflict with with any other copies of QGIS that may be on the system – although you may run into some issues with having a system level install of QIGS and a local copy unless you have tightly managed your library search paths.

mkdir -p dev/cpp
cd dev/cpp
svn co https://svn.osgeo.org/qgis/trunk/qgis
cd qgis
mkdir build
cd build

Running QGIS

I add a launcher to my Gnome panel that points to /home/timlinx/apps/bin/qgis. After that your hand build QGIS will be a simple click away. QGIS source code is always under development and we try at all times to ensure the code in SVN will build cleanly. If you want to get the latest updates, simply do:

cd dev/cpp/qgis
svn update
cd build
make install

Assuming you got no error messages during the build, you QGIS launcher icon should now launch the latest build.

3 Steps Beatiful to Make Ubuntu 9.10(Karmic) looks like Mac OS X

Steps1: Option1: Installing gnome-art,an application for managing the splash screens of the GNOME desktop.
Go to Applications->Ubuntu Software Center,search and install “art manager”(without quotes).
Once installation finish,launch this from System->Preferences->Art Manager,or type “gnome-art”(without quotes) in terminal. Next
Option2:Unfortunately,gnome-art is not maintained any longer,and this doesn’t work for my ubuntu! So We installed Gnome-Art NextGen instead.
download deb package from this page
Use this command to install(open terminal from Applications/Accessories/Terminal to run command),or double click to install:

sudo dpkg -i name

and we installed i386 deb package in my amd64 machine:

sudo dpkg -i --force-architecture gnomeartng-0.6.0-all.deb

Now,launch Gnome-Art NextGen by typing “gnomeartng”(without quotes) in terminal.

Step2:Install window border theme.

If installed gnome-art,navigate to Art Manager -> Art-> Desktop Themes -> Window Border,and choose theme “Metativo”(you can choose one as you like.)

For Gnome-Art NextGen:
In Window Decoration tab,choose one theme.

Step3:Install cairo-dock,and use this replace gnome-panel.
In Applications->Ubuntu software center,search and install “cairo-dock” (without quotes).
Then,run this in terminal:


navigate to desktop->gnome->session->required_component.In right box,double click “panel” and change its value to “cairo-dock”

Now,logout and backin,enjoy!

Mic not working with skype on Ubuntu 9.10 karmic koala

After installing skype 2.1 in your ubuntu 9.10 you might have seen that there is only one option in skype’s audio properties: “pulse audio server” and Nothing else. But most of you might had used “HDA Intel hd:0” option in their previous versions and it was working.To solve this problem you will just need to install “padevchooser” on your Ubuntu. ‘pavechooser’ will help you configure your Pu

Original Post: http://blog.dipinkrishna.info/2009/11/mic-not-working-with-skype-on-ubuntu.html

Tomcat 6 + Eclipse 3.5 on Ubuntu 9.10

There are 2 ways to install Tomcat on Ubuntu: automatically from repository and manually from Apache.

1.Install from repository (tomcat6-admin and tomcat6-webapps are optional)

sudo get-apt install tomcat6 tomcat6-admin tomcat6-webapps

then start/stop/restart tomcat with following command

/etc/init.d/tomcat5.5 start
/etc/init.d/tomcat5.5 stop
/etc/init.d/tomcat5.5 restart

The problem is that you cannot configure Eclipse to work with it because conf and lib are under different directories. So for development machines, you might want to install it manually. In case you have installed it from repository, you can remove it with

sudo apt-get –purge remove tomcat6 tomcat6-admin tomcat6-webapps

2.Install Manually
download tomcat from Apache

tar -zxvf apache-tomcat-x.x.xx.tar.gz
sudo mv apache-tomcat-x.x.xx /opt/
ln -s apache-tomcat-x.x.xx tomcat
sudoedit ~/.bashrc

add this line

export CATALINA_HOME=/opt/tomcat

start/stop tomcat with


To use tomcat manager, you have to configure users.

sudoedit /opt/tomcat/conf/tomcat-users.xml


<user name=”admin” password=”admin” roles=”manager,admin” />

right before </tomcat-users>

Integrate Tomcat into Eclipse
Server->Runtime Environments->Add->
Apache Tomcat V6.0->Next->

Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala): Popping Audio Fix

It is not much of a secret that the launch of Ubuntu 9.10 aka Karmic Koala has not gone quite as smoothly as Canonical Ltd would have hoped, however developments are slowly being made which are beginning to help rectify some of the most annoying issues associated with the release.

Following all of the responses regarding my previous ‘Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala): Are You Experiencing Problems?‘ article I thought I would scour the web for fixes that may help out some of our readers.

The first fix I have found relates to a popping noise which is experienced with some Intel HDA (high-definition) audio chipsets, this fix was originally posted on YouTube by a user called “shmalignant“, the fix is pretty simple, rather than explain it myself I have embedded the video below, heres the direct link to the video.

I must just add that although there are no likely problems associated with this fix, if you choose to attempt the fix it is at your own risk (editing this particular .conf file shouldn’t cause problems.

Did this fix work for you?

Ubuntu 9.10 Installing Microsoft Office 2007… | Mike Southby

Linux is growing in popularity more and more with every year that passes, in recent years this has been made ever more public with the Ubuntu distributions which are now real Windows alternatives for the average end user.  Just as with Mac sofware, Ubuntu comes ‘out of the box’ with everything you could possibly need to go about your day to day business; best of all everything is essentially free thanks to its open source underpinnings. What is revolution to install Microsoft on Linux.

However there are drawbacks.

Ubuntu comes bundled with OpenOffice, a Microsoft Office alternative from Sun.  It works really well; giving you all the features you have come to expect from using Office on Windows, but – and here’s the real killer – even though it has the same functionability, it looks different, acts different and has different native file formats. This alone is enough for a lot of people not to give Ubuntu or other Linux distributions a try, afterall, why would you want to switch to another OS when you have Windows installed already, do all of your work in Office and are familiar with both.  Microsoft Office not being compatible with Ubuntu is a real problem.

As more and more Linux distributions have been developed and their popularity has increased, so has the need for a stable solution to using Office in a Linux environment, it’s been very ‘messy’ but a lot of people have had varying success using Wine.  Wine let’s you run Windows software in a Linux environment which when it works, works great.  However, Office had always been one of those annoyances that doesn’t seem to work under Wine as it should.  Fortunately though, Wine has been improved over the years and now their is a solution.

For the purposes of this guide, I am using the latest version of Ubuntu, Wine and Microsoft Office; Ubuntu 9.10, Wine 1.1.32 beta and Microsoft Office 2007.

So, to get Office working on Ubuntu, read on.

Firstly, we need to make sure that all previous versions of Wine are uninstalled.  Previous versions of Wine suffered from a regression issue and will not work with Office 2007 so:

  • Click on System > Administration > Synaptic Package Manager
  • In Synaptic Package Manager, type Wine in the search field and highlight any existing instances of Wine which are installed on your system, making sure to choose Mark for Complete Removal and then Apply
  • We now need to remove the exiting .wine folder by navigating to Places > Home Folder.  You’ll need to press CTRL+H to unhide the .wine folder so that you can delete it

Next, we need to install the latest version of Wine, but before doing so it won’t hurt to give your machine a restart.  Once you’ve done this, do the following:

  • Download the latest version of Wine from http://wine.budgetdedicated.com/archive/index.html, I used v1.1.32 beta.  When the popup box appears, choose to Open with Gdebi package Installer.  Once the package begins installing, you will get a warning dialogue.  Acknowledge this and continue through the install process

We can now install Microsoft Office 2007, so pop the installation disc into the drive and wait for the system to mount it:

  • Navigate to the installer by going to Places > Office12 and right click setup.exe chosing Open with Wine Windows Program Loader
  • Now follow the installation process as if it were a Windows installtion, but choosing a custom installation and choosing the program options you’ll need.  Note:  Unfortunately, not all of the office applications seem to work correctly under Ubuntu (or Linux generally) so I’d recommend just installing Word, Excel and PowerPoint.  Access and Outlook have known issues.

Once Office has finished installing, we need to install winetricks which is a useful tool to use some common workarounds to some of the deficiencies in Wine:

  • Open your Terminal (Applications > Accessories > Terminal) and type:
    sudo wget www.kegel.com/wine/winetricks
  • Next, install cabextract in order to be able to extract the contents of Microsoft cabinet files.  To do this, type the following:
    sudo apt –get install cabextract
  • Next we need to install MS core fonts, Visual C++, MS scripting and Jscript, type the following:
    sh winetricks corefonts tahoma vcrun2005spl wsh56js

The next stage is to confgure Wine itself:

  • As we already have a Terminal window open, type:
  • On the Libraries tab, add 2 new variables:
  • Once you have done this, highlight or click riched20 and click Edit, change to Native Windows then Apply and OK

Finally, we can now test Office, navigate to Word; Applications > Wine > Programs > Microsoft Office and click the launcher for Word.  You may need to restart your machine in order for the Microsoft Office program group to appear in the menu.  When Word launches, you’ll need to activate as normal and, importantly, choose not to use Microsoft updates (see note below).

Notes: There are some limitations, the most noteworthy of which is that this may not work correctly if you install using media with an SP already applied, Office under Wine will not work with any of the Microsoft Service Packs and/or Microsoft Update.

The ‘proof is in the pudding’ as they say.  Enjoy!